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Storm Heaven

by Requiem

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Storm Heaven 04:37
Secession 02:01
Deliverance 02:24
The Border 06:14
In Darkness 04:28
Defeat 03:36
Unleash Hell 02:39


released January 1, 2005

To apply the cover of this record, dip a sponge in acrylic paint and dab the paint through the stencil onto a piece of cloth. Alternatively, hold a can of spraypaint eight to twelve inches from the stencil and spray through it onto a surface owned by an offensive corporation. Better yet, make your own stencil designs with which to beautify and reclaim public spaces, and concoct your own plots by which to accomplish the same goal on a larger scale.

Stef—drums, voice
B—guitar, voice
Mark and Mackie—members emeritus

Requiem is an anarchist band rooted in the do-it-yourself punk community. In our experience, music—like all aspects of life—can only flourish when it is free from the demands of economics and competition, the constraints of binary gender, and the inertia of conformity and routine.
By itself, a record is a dead thing—and in a world of death, it’s senseless to encourage people to spend time listening to and contemplating dead things. But perhaps a record can also be a candle lit in supplication, a flare beseeching Where are the others? Where are you, who might be our allies, who could be our companions? For we are not dead things. We are still very much alive.
We hope our music can help bring together communities of dreamers and dissidents, and give succor and encouragement to those engaged in struggle of all kinds. Meaningful art cannot be made where life is meaningless; we aspire to craft a future in which life, and thus art, can be beautiful and free in ways unimaginable today.
We have not lost faith in the power of audio frequencies. They can shatter glass, shed tears, shake foundations. They are as good a weapon as any, and as good a medicine. At the same time, we know all too well that music alone will not enable us to triumph against injustice and suffering. We urge you to make use of every means at your disposal to oppose these forces—as we pledge to, ourselves.

Cakalak Thunder, a radical drum corps from Greensboro, NC, first formed as an affinity group for the FTAA protests in Miami, in November of 2003. Playing on buckets, wearing blue and green, and accompanied by banners, puppets, and flags, we brought rhythmic cacophony to the streets, and energized the 10,000 other folks there in our struggle against the forces of global capitalism. Originally a marching-band-style drum corps, we have morphed into a fledgling samba school while maintaining a radical focus. We strive to be conscious, accountable, and open. We welcome anyone to join us, and we practice every week, obsessively. We love drumming together, and we believe in the power of creativity, and specifically music, to make us know in our bones that another world is possible.

The drum corps was recorded May 2005 by Endre Njøs and Danny Bayer at the warehouse space Requiem shared with them and many other musical and artistic collectives in the Greensboro community. Everything else was recorded and mixed at the Jam Room in Columbia, South Carolina between June 21 and 30. Jay Matheson and Steve Slavich operated the equipment, and Philip Cope worked selflessly from the beginning to the end of the process to make sure everything sounds its best. Brent Lambert mastered it all at the Kitchen in Carrboro, North Carolina on July 5.


love like you’ve never lost
fight like we’ve never won


As everyone knows, punk rock is dead—likewise the anarchist movement, hope for a better future, everything else that could offer life meaning.
And yet we are punks, anarchists, dreamers. We too should be dead, then.
If it appears that we are not, this can only mean one of two things. It could be that we are mistaken: it is indeed after the end of the world, and we are the dead, still walking the earth in denial. If this is the case, what prevents us from entering heaven? Perhaps if we could open our hearts and sing, sobbing, a requiem, they might rise from the dead to sing with us—and our souls might finally be free.
And what if we are not mistaken? Without a doubt, some of us experience moments when it feels as though we are undeniably, indisputably alive.
If this is so, then, at least for those instants, capitalism, hierarchy, and despair must all be dead—for we know that true life cannot coexist with them. Perhaps it is they who are the walking dead, the “specters haunting the world,” and we have only to sing their requiem, first in small groups and then together, to exorcise them.
Let us make symphonies of our grief, and of our coffins, battering rams.


Their genocidal war is declared—we declare our secession
And suffer reprisals, proscription, arrests
Like our brothers and sisters in cell blocks, on shopfloors, in cages
We’re marked for death
They buy, sell, and enslave us
We break from their mazes
They starve out escapees, gut our hearts, cut our ties
We sow seeds and bear fruit
They clearcut and uproot
We survive
We thrive

Bridges are for burning, as tables are for turning
And nothing they offer could ever ease this yearning
Better wounds than regrets, better doomed than suppressed
But we’re not doomed just yet
We are sparks in the night
In this empire of ice
We set fires in the streets and the hearts of their young
They destroy and devour
But we’ll heal all the damage they’ve done
And when we shatter their silence
And they answer with violence
We’ll dance in the shackles and sing through the trial
They are banking on death
But we’ll outlive them yet
Though they’ve bulldozed our heartlands
And brainwashed our families
And poisoned our passions
And smothered all hope from our souls

We survive

The lyrics of this song were finished in an alley in Overtown, a Miami ghetto, in November of 2003, during protests against the proposed Free Trade Area of the Americas agreement. My companions and I were fleeing several thousand riot police, who were firing tear gas, rubber bullets, and tasers as they advanced across the city arresting and beating every presumed dissident in their path.
We were surrounded on all sides. Armored police vehicles lined all four streets around us from one intersection to the next, their flashing lights reflecting red and blue off the brick alley walls in the deepening dusk. Storm troopers marched in formation past both mouths of the alley; a searchlight from a helicopter illuminated our crouching forms. This was the full might of the state brought to bear against its enemies, as few in North America ever witness it. There was nothing we could do but huddle there and wait for our time to come.
Miraculously, they never came for us. After hours had passed and the last of these verses had been composed, the police moved their lines forward, leaving us free to make our way with great trepidation out of the alley. There, we found locals waiting to lead us to safety, regardless of the risk to themselves. This song is dedicated to them, and to everyone who looks out for others as well as themselves in this dangerous world. The very fact that it was completed at all—and has since been performed and recorded—is a testament to just how possible resistance still is, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.


One escapes—a boy won’t go back
I did my time in the prison you call life
In spite of surveillance, the judgmental eyes
Defying the lies that there’s nothing outside
One escapes
From landscapes laid waste by your toil
From cities that run on your blood, sweat, and tears
Come workers—desert
Come soldiers—desert
Come, life is for living, not living in fear
What chain chokes your throat, what gate bars your path
What prison entombs you in concrete and stone
What fence stays your step save the one you accept
What key could release you from walls of your own

No—this girl won’t go back
The older I get, the more I want to fight
To destroy institutions, for total revolution
No compromise, it’s my fucking life
Fight—for each inch of ground
For each hour untrammeled, for every wrist bound
For songs yet unsung, desires unrealized
For all of the ones who should be at our sides
Don’t go back
No don’t fear, don’t relent, don’t back down
Don’t falter, don’t turn away now
No wealth could replace the riches we forfeit
Nor monuments ransom the chances we waste
None will even recall what we squandered at all
If we never dare to give wings to our longings
If we never dare to give teeth to our rage

Do you remember what I said?
I wouldn’t take away a word
Better die in defeat, starved, crazed, and alone
Far from this or any herd
No law can give freedom, no state can give power
No wages can buy back the life that we sell
No god can grant grace in this forsaken place
We have to storm heaven and seize them ourselves

Storm heaven
Unleash hell


These are the power-mad fever dreams of pauper kings
We have nothing—we must be everything
We are masters without slaves, gods who need no worshipping
Through the gutters and galaxies that are reserved for madmen’s eyes
We sail, like rain against the sky

In the ruins
In encampments fit for bandit queens
In the glow at the end of the day
We will gather with our demons
We will dance, and they will play
Through the gutters and galaxies that are reserved for madmen’s eyes
The damned steal through the land of the blessed
To taste the sweet fruit of the flesh

When the others lose hope
When the bread runs out
When there’s nowhere to go
When the hammer comes down
We look to the horizon, and all our sufferings lose their sting
Toast the beheaded, sing: behead every boasted king
We will bear neither chain nor crown
Neither chain nor crown

Meanwhile, ever present, inexorable doom
Sense your death—there it waits, inside you
Another day of borrowed time
Could it be long enough to taste of life


Absence of pleasure, absence of pain
And day after day after day is the same
Absence of feeling, absence of hope
An absence, a vacuum that smothers, that chokes
But whatever it takes, whatever it takes
You’ll empty everything into that pit
Whatever it takes, whatever it takes
You’ll concede and conform till you cease to exist

Where there’s nothing to live for, there’s nothing to lose
And there’s no consolation we cannot refuse
Where there’s nothing to lose there is nothing to fear
We would risk losing nothing to get out of here
And whatever it takes, whatever it takes
We’ll hijack and pilot our lives out of the void
Whatever it takes, whatever it takes
We’ll smash through this silence, we’ll [%]kick till it breaks


A wind bears your scent to those in pursuit
There will be no rest tonight
At your back the world you fled, gaining on you
And ahead only the darkness and the fight
But you know you’re not really living
Until you’re sharing every breath of air with death
You’re not really giving
Until you separate yourself from the rest

You’ve come far
Just to find this
Almost encircled
Another victim
No longer yourself
Not yet anything else
Beyond recognition
Beyond return
Hunted, haunted from without and within
You arrive at the edge of the night
Searching for the strength to push yourself
To the place where limits end
You feel the future in chains within you
And a new sun that rises before you
Can you cross over
Can you reach
The farthest shore
The steepest cliff
The starkest wasteland
The deepest rift
The border

If you have a limit
A point of no return
And you have reached it
And all your bridges are burned
The sleeping armies are stirring
You’re not alone on this path
The war is on, the lines are drawn
And there is no turning back
There is no turning back

in darkness


Use it all up, burn it all down, just don’t let them take you alive

To live in resistance—that means to give up
Each day’s bread for action, each night’s sleep for dreams
To hang by a thread in the vacuum
Between what is and what is to be
To lose
Fight after fight, with no rest or respite
And to win back the chance to take risks, to take flight
The stakes that place life beyond price

Yes we walk in darkness
Under ten thousand stars
We embrace our desires
Even as they are torn from our arms
That agony—that is our triumph
That failure—that is our feat
We are nothing and no one, fed on wanting alone
And in wanting we’re almost complete

We arrive here embattled, pursued and forlorn
Rich in stories that cannot be told or be borne
There’s so much I still want to say, want to do
And I know I won’t be here for long
To fight
Loss after loss, cost upon cost
And in the settling dust
The aftermath and despair
To pick up the pieces and set out once again from there

Yes we walked in the darkness
Under ten thousand stars
And awoke lost in deserts
There we trembled and paused
We were dragged by our demons
Through hell and heaven above
We wanted so badly to love life so madly
That wanting was almost enough
And though when we arrived, almost nothing remained
Of the visions that had guided us over horizons
And all destinations seemed foreign and strange
That agony—that is our triumph
That failure—that is our feat
We’ve raised anchor forever
The world lies in our wake
And that ache
There is nothing so sweet

under ten thousand stars


As the sun set over Quebec City on the second day of action against the Free Trade Area of the Americas talks in April of 2001, the police slowly pushed forward to the north, until they were stopped in a standoff at the foot of a freeway overpass. At this point everyone else, rioters and reporters alike, had their faces covered for protection from the tear gas that filled the air; at the same time, those who had been timid before had lost their fear—from two days of watching bullying police hit in the head with bottles, of seeing supposedly impregnable walls torn down with ropes, of breathing tear gas until it lost all power to impress. It was impossible to tell now who had been from the Black Bloc and who had just joined the struggle: formerly apolitical Quebec street youth held the front lines, throwing back gas canisters and rocks as they had seen activists doing, thrilling in the feeling of reclaiming their city from the powers of police and capital. They hid behind makeshift barricades, running up close to the police line to pitch molotov cocktails, showing superhuman courage in the face of the riot troops that had terrified them twenty four hours earlier.

Behind them, over three thousand people of all ages and backgrounds stood on the freeway, beating out a deafening rhythm on every surface available. The street signs, which only two days before had told them where to go and how fast, became sounding boards for their frustration and their conviction that this conflict was worth fighting; the concrete, which had cut them off from the soil beneath their feet and reinforced the propaganda on every corner proclaiming that the only possible condition was capitalism, competition and cultural standardization and mind-numbing work—that very concrete was torn up to become hammers to play that music of revolt, or else to be thrown, carried on the echoes of that percussion, into the faces of the forces of repression.

Below the freeway, in the activist camp that had once been part of the safe zone, free food was shared, hundreds danced joyously around fires; spirits were higher than they’d ever been for parades or holidays. People who had never been exposed to the anarchic values of sharing and self-determination immediately apprehended and embraced them. It seemed the entirety of the old world was about to puncture and collapse.
Who among us has not spent hours, weeks, whole years of life that, at the end, left nothing to show but the physical fact that we survived, that we lived through them? This moment justified even those sad, squandered years. Even the weary ones who had slogged through decades of tedium and absurdity were vindicated: we had finally arrived at this, the first threshold of childhood. The past behind us that had seemed so senseless, the future ahead unknowable and more menacing by the minute, all this was worth it, justified into eternity, so we could live this danger, this freedom, this feeling of breaking through the skin of the world.

There is another world, a secret one made up of all our unlived dreams and unacted impulses, all those parts of ourselves which find no point of entry into the one that is—it waits, simmering, ready to boil over at six billion different pressure points. When it did that afternoon, we drank tear gas with gratitude and abandon, we were energized as people only are during great catastrophes or triumphs—neither plastic bullets nor water cannons could daunt us, for we were living as we had always known we should. The music we made together, beating out our own cadences on the sheet metal of the city, was the eruption of our individual longings into the material world; united in their singularities, they formed a symphony no composer could have authored. It surrounded us, deafening, greater than ourselves; when we closed our eyes, it sounded like singing, like a vast unearthly choir above us.

I would have liked for that song to have gone on forever, for it to have been our lives.

The rhythm the forms the foundation of this final composition is derived from the one played that day in Quebec City.


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